We had our first English Halloween yesterday and it was awesome! When we left the US to move here it was just after Halloween of 2011. It was a little bittersweet for me because Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I wasn’t sure to what extent the English celebrated it. Even leading up until yesterday, I wasn’t sure. I had heard that the children put on costumes and I had seen some Halloween candy in the stores. But I certainly didn’t see the entire eastern quadrant of a Target taken over in orange and candy–so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Nevertheless, Halloween was here and I was going to celebrate it. I put on my orange “Put the Candy in the Bag” t-shirt, dug out my sparkly witch hat and Hubs and I carved a pumpkin. I also decked out the house with some of my Halloween decorations. Oh yeah, and I made these cupcakes too but I’ll get to those in a minute. I was going to have Halloween, dammit. Even if it meant eating a bunch of Butterfingers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups by myself. (Which I did. For the three days leading in to Halloween.)
But I worried about nothing because we had Trick-or-Treaters!!!! I was so excited. We had little kids and big kids. Kids all decked out and teenagers who were going as their “friend.” Of course there were the babies whose parents were ultimately going to eat the candy and then the parents who were just “collecting” candy for a child at home (This one woman “all of a sudden” had a child at home to collect for once she saw I had peanut butter cups. Hmmmm..) Now I didn’t have Halloween shoved down my throat as soon as Labor Day passed but it was pretty much the same. Including the 9pm last-man-standing Trick-or-Treater.
Since I now know what to expect for Halloween next year, I’m going to do a little experiment and see what they do to the people who run out of candy and hand out pence instead.
So anyways, that was my first Halloween experience in the UK. I figured I was going to need to adapt it for adults so we invited a couple of friends over and I made my Guinness Chili with the Bitches Brewing Co.’s Chocolate & Chilli Stout in place of the Guinness. I also decided that we were above Maltesers and Milk Duds (read: we had eaten them all already) so I wanted to make a good sweet treat that’d last the Halloween candy. Thus, these Chocolate & Chili Stout Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes were born.
Made with the Bitches Brewing Stout, chocolate, and chili powder– and topped with jalapeno pretzels–they’re scary good.
Bitches Brewing Co. Chocolate & Chilli Stout Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: About 16 cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 23 min
Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
These cupcakes are incredibly moist, chocolatey, and have just a hint of spice. After one or two of these, the back of your throat will start to tingle--it's awesome!
For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 sticks/12TB (170g) unsalted butter, softened
2 oz (60g) unsweetened chocolate squares
1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder
3/4 cup (177ml) Chocolate & Chilli Stout
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (121g/4.5fl oz) sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup (150g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup (260g) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
For the buttercream frosting:
2 sticks/16TB (227g) room-temperature unsalted butter
1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder
3 1/4 cups (390g) powdered/confectioners sugar
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TB milk
1 TB Chocolate & Chilli Stout
Top with a sprinkle of chili powder and some chopped jalapeno pretzels.
To make the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350˚F/176˚C
Over a double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate.
In the meantime, melt the butter over medium heat. When melted, add the cocoa, stout, and melted unsweetened chocolate. Stir and set aside to cool.
While the chocolate mixture is cooling, whisk together the eggs and the sour cream. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture.
Sift together the dry ingredients. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the chocolate, stirring after each addition. Stir until incorporated but not over-mixed.
Pour the batter into lined muffin tins about 2/3 the way up.
Bake for about 23 minutes--rotating the pan about halfway through--or until a fork comes out clean. Cool in the tin for about 15 minutes and then remove. Allow to cool for an hour before frosting.
To make the buttercream frosting:
Cream together the butter, cocoa, sugar, and chili powder on low speed with a hand mixer. Once combined, beat on medium speed for about two minutes more. It'll start out looking crumbly and eventually look creamy.
Add the vanilla, milk, and stout and beat for another minute on medium until creamy and smooth.
Frost the cooled cupcakes. Top with chopped pretzels or a sprinkling of chili powder.
Recipe adapted from: http://www.askchefdennis.com/2012/05/xocolatl-cupcakes-with-icy-violets/